Friday, January 21, 2011

Purposeful Fellowship

"Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."  Romans 12:13

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20

"A friend loves at all times,
   and a brother is born for a time of adversity."  Proverbs 17:17

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."  1 John 1:7 

I will freely admit it.  I'm the type of girl who could be perfectly happy to just stay at home all by myself every day of the week.  I love just being at home, either alone or with my kids and husband.  It's almost my favorite place in the whole world to be. Often times, opportunities or occasions for fellowship will come up, and quite simply, I am unable to participate because of circumstances.  Most times, it's because I need to be doing something with my children, and I have no problems at all with that.  Right now, in this time of my life, my children are my number one ministry, and they receive top priority.  But lately, God has really been drawing my attention to verses like the ones above, and I really feel like He's been telling me that I need to be more purposeful in my fellowship with other believers.

Fellowship?  Isn't that the half hour or so after Sunday morning service where we all stand around and visit with each other?  Why yes, it is, but what about the rest of the week?  The thing is, you can't really get to know someone well with a short little visit on your way out the door Sunday morning.  You can't really get to know your brothers and sisters in Christ if the only time you spend together is under the covering of the worship-house doors.  God wants us to be purposeful with our fellowship. 

That's hard for me!  As I already mentioned, I have very limited time to be able to do such a thing, and yet, I need to find those small pockets of time for that very thing.  Just last night, a good friend came over late in the evening just for visiting and munching.  Normally, that's a time reserved for getting the kids to bed, and then I spend a quiet evening doing what I like.  I really had to be purposeful about giving up that quiet end-of-the-day time to fellowship with my friend.  The end result was a lovely evening spent visiting with a friend, that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

The thing is, the world has us so busy, and unless we become purposeful about spending time with each other, that time just isn't going to happen.  We have work, dance lessons, laundry, TV shows to watch, and on and on and on.  Let me tell you a little secret: the devil wants us to be busy.  He relishes in the idea that we are always too busy to find time to fellowship, because when we do fellowship, we draw closer to one another.  We develop relationships that result in lifting each other up, encouraging one another, praying for one another, and all-around caring about each other.  The world certainly doesn't want that.  The world wants us to be busy, busy, busy, so that when that opportunity comes up, you can say you already have plans.

I want to challenge each and every one of my readers and stumble-uponers to challenge yourself to purposeful in fellowship in the weeks ahead.  Challenge yourself to make time to get together with other believers.  Even if you only have a lunch hour to get together with someone, use that lunch hour and be a blessing one-to-another.  Invite someone into your home for an hour or two, strictly for the purpose of getting to know each other.  Invite a whole group of people over for an evening of fellowship.  Whatever is stirring in your heart, just do it.  Be purposeful in your fellowship and thwart the devil who is hard at work trying to cause the church to fall apart.  When we fellowship, we strengthen the bonds between us, and make it that much harder for him to stir up trouble.  I say it's time to cause him trouble, and to be that thorn in his side who is always ready to spend time with another believer, encouraging them in their faith walk. 

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."  2 Corinthians 13:14

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